Defective Philippine e-passports

A few weeks ago, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) admitted that around 10,000 e-passports were found to be defective. The defective e-passports were said to belong to the EB 000-0001 to EB 126-7350 range. The DFA urges all passport holders whose passports belong to the said series to have their passports replaced – which will be free of charge.

Looking back, I remember having passport-related problems a couple of years ago when my old passport’s cover page got detached when someone tried to photocopy it. This effectively rendered my passport invalid and so I had to apply for a replacement. Several delays throughout the replacement process, which lasted for about a month, caused a lot of inconvenience and prevented me from reporting back to work in Singapore.

Guess what my old passport number was. EB 050-XXXX. Bummer. :-/

The case of the bad neighbor – 01

I was supposed to fly home on Christmas Day, but an unfortunate set of events forced me to fly back home today, a few days earlier than planned.

It turns out that we live just a couple of houses away from an idiotic, perverted foreigner masquerading as a respectable businessman.

Know this, Mr. “S”, you messed with the wrong people. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. It would be my utmost satisfaction to see you put in place or behind bars.

A tribute to post number 1

I couldn’t help but smile while browsing through my blog archives. I forgot that the very first blog I wrote was about Conne’s pregnancy with CJ! This was back in 2005, when I was still using Blogspot’s services.

The inspiration for that very first post came after we heard CJ’s heartbeat for the first time, which was during one of Conne’s early pregnancy checkups.

As we eagerly await for a new chapter to be written into our lives, one which sees our Julianna on board, the current chapter ends with a special twist and on a high note — because it ends with a scene depicting CJ, with childlike amazement, hearing his unborn sister’s heartbeat for the first time as well.

Yes, CJ, it does sound like a train.

Daddy2.0 – On parenthood, time and continual improvement

Time is a luxury that most of us don’t have, but it’s a luxury that we should appreciate and value dearly.

It took me forever to realize that, when life knocks us down or throws us a curve ball or two, the wisdom and experience gained from overcoming adversity are built up in trickles throughout the course of our lives.

Backtrack six years ago, I was struggling on a personal, professional and emotional level. But I now find myself a husband to a loving wife, father to an amazing son, stakeholder to a good company, and in control of my emotions (well, at least most of the time!). To top everything off, I woke up one day, while on an overseas trip almost 9 months back, to a blissful SMS message from my wife – telling me that I was to be a dad for the second time around!

One of the first questions that popped up in my mind: Was I ready for this new challenge?

Backtrack again, those six years saw four job changes (with odd jobs in between some), three house transfers, a thousand arguments with the wife, countless temper tantrums (with the occasional gadget “collateral damage”, to boot), questions on faith, a slew of loan payments that needed to be settled, forays into the business world, an investment gamble, and frequent, lonely, extended trips overseas.

Fast forward: I have a good job, we’re saving up for our dream house, arguments are few and far between, temper is in check (with zero collateral damage!), I have a strengthened belief in God, loans are settled, business is good, and investments are paying off. As for staying abroad, the loneliness didn’t kill me but only made me strong.

In retrospect, time allowed courage, wisdom, experience and a bit of luck to eventually stack up on my side. It allowed me and my wife to grow – as a couple and as parents.

So to answer my question, I can say with optimism that I’m up for the challenge.

And the geek in me says that the ongoing upgrade to Parent2.0 (ergo Daddy2.0) is on track.

Duh, what’s your excuse this time, bub?

Hey, you! Yes, you! What’s your excuse this time?

We know who you are and what you can do. We’ve heard your glorified, subliminal spiels so many times over the airwaves that we can’t help but hum a little ditty to the tune of your “jingle” just to pass time.

But it turns out that those jingles couldn’t save us, could they? You got so entrenched into our psyche that we subconsciously expected you to come to our aid when the floods and landslides came. And so we waited for hours, drenched and shivering in the torrential rain, helplessly marooned on top of our desolate rooftop atolls – humming that ubiquitous ditty of yours, hoping for the miracle of you.

We filled our sinking hearts with hope, buoyed by your promises. The minutes went by, as did the hours, and for some of us, days. We patiently waited for you for days. We had to, because we had no choice. But where were you, really? Were you off buying liquor somewhere else? Were you with aides planning your political sorties? Were you busy grandstanding, plotting your opponent’s political downfall? Or were you out of the country attending to personal matters?

Apart from those merciless storm trains, do you know what else rained down heavily on us these past few weeks? It rained excuses, nothing but poor, pathetic excuses on your end.

Did we hear you right? Did you just say that you couldn’t come to us on time because you didn’t have any rubber boats? Oh, is it because you forgot to buy these things in spite of previous reminders and recommendations? And we could have sworn that you said you couldn’t stop the floods because key flood mitigating equipment weren’t maintained. Is this true?

Hey, are you still there? Or is your mind elsewhere, like at your Farm Town game at FB perhaps? Or are you itching to check out that twitter account of yours for new followers?

Speaking of itches, did that same itch cause you to pull that dam-water-release lever, or whatever device you call it, on-the-fly? So what’s your excuse there? Are you saying that, apart from the storms, deforestation was the only other culprit of the massive flooding that we experienced? And should we also accept your justification and excuse that it was perfectly okay for you to wait until the dam water levels were at critical levels before doing anything? Would you blame use if we thought that whoever made those operating procedures of yours must have been lacking in common sense, or must have been tipsy – nay, Drunken Master-drunk, when the guidelines were made?

Are you still there? Hey, we’re still talking to you. Please don’t take your eyes off that monitor. Do you have any idea how soaked we are with your excuses?

Look, we understand that probably half the world sent us relief. You literally begged for it and they responded because they knew that we were desperate, homeless and hungry. Now that the goods are here, what’s next? Where are they? Where are you? Are you telling us now that aid won’t coming our way anytime soon because you lack volunteers to sort and pack the goods? Will volunteers just pop up out of nowhere if they didn’t know that you actually needed help with manpower? Now really, tell us (*wink*), does it really take that long to sort out the imports from the locals (*wink* *wink*)? Does it really take that long to put “donated-by” stickers per item (*nudge*)? How long does it take to make you look good for that photo op prior to doling out goods (*wink*)? That long huh?

Geez, we’re absolutely dying to find out what sort of lame excuse you’ll come up with next time. Have you ever considered owning up to a mistake?

You know what? Let’s just wrap this off.

We’ve learned a lot from all of your incompetence and shortcomings. Had we known beforehand that these things would happen, in hindsight, we shouldn’t have elected you – we should’ve voted wisely! We should’ve been properly prepared for emergencies, at all times! We should’ve relied on ourselves first, and shouldn’t have relied too heavily on you or other people’s promises! We should’ve listened to warnings and we should’ve taken action! We should’ve done our part as citizens of this wonderful, beloved country! We could’ve…. made…. a difference…… Uhm, we, uhm……. we…………………..

Oh, uhm, okay. Our bad.

Bub, you’re off the hook – for now. Cheers! 🙂